Apple today announced a "first-of-its-kind initiative" that will see the Cupertino company partnering with Japan Post Group and IBM to bring IBM-developed apps and analytics into the hands of senior citizens in Japan. The project hopes to connect its customers with apps related to services, healthcare, community, and family.
The initial plan sees Japan Post Group entering the service into a test phase, with expansion planned in stages and the final objective of the initiative being 4 million to 5 million customers in Japan by 2020. As a raw statistic, currently more than 33 million senior citizens collectively make up about 25 percent of Japan's population, so the elderly-focused initiative announced today definitely has room to grow and expand in the future.
“This initiative has potential for global impact, as many countries face the challenge of supporting an aging population, and we are honored to be involved in supporting Japan’s senior citizens and helping enrich their lives,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “iPad is incredibly intuitive, easy to use and has accessibility features built in, making it a perfect device for any generation to be connected and engaged.”
“We are joining with two of the world’s most respected leaders in technology to bring our elderly generation into the connected world, expand our businesses by deepening relationships, and discover new ways to strengthen the fabric of our society and economy,” said Taizo Nishimuro, CEO of Japan Post Group.
Some of the new apps debuting on the service will include experiences custom-built by IBM Global Business Services, reminding customers with alerts for medication, diet, and exercise. Other apps will directly connect its customers to a larger community, showcasing various activities, possible job listings, and provide basic service support for grocery shopping. Previously, Apple has partnered with IBM for a lineup of enterprise apps called MobileFirst, a service which the two have continuously expanded upon in the months since it was announced.
According to today's press release, IBM plans to bring analytic and accessibility technology to the initiative, providing ease-of-use to its elderly customers and ensuring a positive experience. Japan Post Group, under its parent company Japan Post Holdings, provides postal and package delivery services, banking services, and life insurance to "nearly all" of the around 115 million adults in Japan, which angles the company to provide a wider reach for the elderly-focused initiative in the long run.